[Strategy] UPSC Civil Service Exam (Part 3 of 5): General Studies for CSAT prelims and Mains

Book-Cover-Polity LAXMIKANTH

[Strategy] UPSC Civil Service Exam (Part 3 of 5): General Studies for CSAT prelims and Mains

update: this article was written in Dec 2012. But in March 2013, UPSC introduced some new reforms, While majority of the strategy remains one and same as given in this article. But a few modifications (especially for mains exam) are added. I’ve written a separate article on it click me

  1. Act III: Waging the War
  2. Loading Doze and Maintenance Doze
  3. Statistics
  4. Economy
    1. Economy : Prelims/ MCQs
    2. Economy : Mains
    3. International relations
  5. Polity
  6. History (GS/CSAT)
  7. Geography
    1. How to Approach Geography for CSAT-Prelims?
    2. World geography
    3. Indian geography
    4. Geography for GS-Mains
  8. Environment and biodiversity
  9. Yearbook: prelims and mains
    1. What is India Yearbook (2013)?
    2. Why is India Yearbook important?
    3. How to read India yearbook efficiently?
  10. Science-Tech
    1. Science for Prelims
    2. How to efficiently use THM GS Manual for Science segment?
    3. Physics Chapter on Science
    4. Biology
    5. Science-Tech for prelims and Mains
  11. Public health and first aid
  12. First Aid
  13. Good governance, law and order
  14. Preparation Timetable
  15. Interview
  16. What should you do next?
  17. Your City-District-State
  18. Stress Interview

Act III: Waging the War

Loading Doze and Maintenance Doze

  • You fall sick and doctor gives you medicine.
  • The initial doze is high : 2 tablets a day. (this is loading doze)
  • Take tablets, they kill some bactaria and get eliminated through urine. = symptoms are decreased.
  • But if you stop taking drug, then ultimately bacteria population will rise again.
  • So doctor doesn’t completely stop the medicine but reduces the doze, e.g. just 1 tablet a day. (this is maintenance doze)

Ya but how is ^this relevant for UPSC exam?

If you’re already finished with the loading doze phase (e.g. core syllabus) then all you need is maintenance doze (revision). It leads to many positive effects

  1. Now your ‘vision’ expands. You can clearly see connections between topics and how they’re important for exam or not.
  2. Now you can allot more time for upgrading your notes with current affairs.
  3. Now you can digup Government sites and internet for follow up action on various topics.
  4. Now you can practice mock MCQs (prelims) or answer writing (mains)

Besides, finishing the core syllabus is also important for another reason:=  career backup plan.

  • In case you fail in the IAS exam and If you’re not a CA, Doctor or IITian, what will you do? Well, the backup plans would usually involve Bank PO, State PSC, SSC type jobs or doing PG/MBA.
  • Such exams are conducted throughout the year. Whatever you prepare general studies, will directly or indirectly help you in those exams.
  • But Here is the problem: most of them require some specific side preparation as well for example Bank, SSC, CAT would require Aptitude. Similarly for State PSC, you’d have to learn the history and geography of Punjab, Maharashtra etc.
  • So, If your core syllabus of UPSC is not complete, then you will always be under stress on how to manage time between preparation of these exam and it will be like choosing between devil and the deep sea.

Therefore, sooner you finish loading doze, better it’ll be for you. First of all complete the core/basic syllabus of following topics

Topic Why?
  1. Economy
Otherwise, you will not be able to fully digest the newspaper columns.
  1. International relations
  1. Polity
  1. Statistics
You will have to spend less time before the mains on this topic. So that many days or weeks could be utilized for preparing other topics of general studies/opt subjects (if opt.subjects are kept)


  • UPDATE (March-08-2013): statistics no longer relevent as UPSC removed it from 2013.


update Feb 2014: How to approach Economy, has been explained in a separate article- click me

–following is old information–

The core syllabus of economy consists of the following things

Theoretical economy

Basic Concepts and terminologies, GDP,GNP,PPP,IIP, inflation etc.

Indian economy (static portion)

  • LPG reforms.
  • Budget making process.
  • RBI monetary policy: Repo, Reverse Repo, CRR, SLR etc.

Source: Static portion of the economy


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